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Democrat Photo by Nathan Mayberg

CAMPERS ENDED UP on top of one another in just one illustration of numerous examples of damage at the Neversink Campground in Hasbrouck this week.

Devastated by River

By Nathan Mayberg
HASBROUCK — April 8, 2005 – Take a look in Hasbrouck, near Woodbourne, at the Neversink Campgrounds off the Neversink River, and you’ll find some of the worst destruction from last weekend’s devastating floods.
Trailers were sent into the river, into trees and into each other. Deep craters now expose the spots where some of the trailers once stood. Much of the roads along the summer park were washed out.
In all, hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage occurred.
Luckily, the site is used mainly by summer residents for camping, and no one was injured.
But for Julia Dolgas, who owns the camp site, along with Mike Ruefe, some of the owners of the trailers will not return, which means a lot of lost business.
Previous examples don’t give them much hope. A massive flood last year in Westbrookville left most of the local residents with little or no aid. While the Town of Mamakating and Sullivan County were almost completely reimbursed for their expenditures, homeowners received almost nothing. One of the hardest hit homes, with damage estimated at over $100,000 only received $5,000.
Meanwhile, Dolgas and her son-in law Brendan Pavese have suggested what others in the towns of Fallsburg and Neversink have been saying: that a faulty valve controlled by the NYC Department of Environmental Protection may have led to the buildup of water in the Neversink Dam over several months and thus the massive flooding when the hard rains came. They may sue the City of New York, which operates the dam.
So far, no evidence has been presented, and DEP officials deny any such incident occurred.
Their claims are similar to those made by many in Westbrookville last year – that the alleged lack of a release in the valves overseen by the Yankee Lake Homeowners Association over the summer led to five-foot walls of water which poured down onto Pine Kill Road when the Yankee Lake dam overflowed. Those claims, too, have yet to be proven.
Both Golgas and Pavese described the flooding as a huge event, which turned their camp into a river as high as three to five feet in some parts.
“The whole thing was a river,” said Pavese.
The water was up to the door handles on his 4x4 Dodge pickup truck, he commented.
In addition to the trailers which were sent flying into the water, into each other, into trees, and flipped over, so were decks, propane tanks, and even a screening room, which went one quarter of a mile into a nearby hay field.
The road damage alone has been estimated between $40,000 to $60,000.
“This is devastating,” Dolgas stated. “But we will continue . . . we will need cash flow.”
The site is home to approximately 60 trailers, she said. Each one costs between $25,000 and $30,000.
Ron Reggero was one of the few who visited the camp site to check on his trailer. He was one of the luckier ones – his trailer was still intact, although his shed was leaning on it. His brand new $300 rug, however, was ruined, and his wife’s couch was gone. The gas and electric was out, so he was not sure whether his stove, oven or gas tank was broken or not.
“I don’t even know where to start,” he said grimly.
Meanwhile, Dolgas has been cleaning out her cellar, which was flooded. She and Pavese figured that 80 percent of the trailers accumulated water damage. Many will be simply unusable due to the water damage, in addition to nearly a dozen which were thrown into the water, into trees, other trailers or flipped over.
Pavese estimated that they will spend hundreds of hours picking up picnic tables, propane tanks and other garbage out of the woods.
Of the dam, Pavese said, “The dam is there to protect us, and it ruined us. . . . This is not Mother Nature’s fault.”
Still, he and Dolgas are determined to continue.
“We will put this back to where it was,” he said.
By June or July, added Dolgas.

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